INDIANAPOLIS – For many prospects, the NFL combine is a grind.
Awakening around dawn. A seemingly endless series of interviews with teams and a media session with reporters. A medical probe that can take hours and make players feel like pieces of meat.
Then there’s Nicholas Petit-Frere. The Ohio State offensive tackle is treating this week like it’s a trip to football Disneyland.
“I got to talk to a bunch of coaches, talk ball, football, life, my philosophies on football,” Petit-Frere said, his excitement palpable. “I got to talk about my high school, college, little league and things like that. All the testing and stuff, it was fine. It was easy. The people there were lovely. I don’t know why people made it sound like this would be so bad. This has kind of been the best week of my life. “
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To understand Petit-Frere’s outlook, it helps to know his background. He is the only child of Loris Petit-Frere, a single mom. She was a senior in high school when Nicholas was born. Loris got an academic scholarship to study at the University of South Florida in Tampa. For three years while she was in college, Nicholas lived with his grandparents of him.
“She actually finished up her degree early to come back and get me,” Petit-Frere said. “She She taught me so much about resilience and what it takes to achieve what you want to achieve. I remember when I was a little kid, she always told me, ‘Do you want to be great, or do you want to be mediocre?’ You wouldn’t really think you would have that conversation with a 6-year-old, but my mom wanted to establish to me that you are going to need to be more mature at a younger age because you need to be able to do certain things differently without a father figure. “
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Football has helped provide that. Teammates and coaches became his extended family than him.
It helped that he excelled at football. He became a five-star prospect and was the highest-ranked player in Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class.
After adding needed bulk early in his Buckeye career, Petit-Frere earned the starting right tackle job in 2020 and switched to left tackle last year. He played exceptionally well, with the exception of the Michigan game.
Petit-Frere reluctantly decided to opt out of playing in the Rose Bowl.
“When I played during the season, I never really wanted to think about whether I was gonna opt out,” he said.
“When the end of the season happened with the team up north, it was sad, because we lost that game, and we weren’t at Indy (for the Big Ten championship). Then I’m waiting for the playoff. And when (Ohio State didn’t make that), I kind of looked up and I said, ‘You know what? I have a lot of film, ‘”for NFL teams to evaluate.
Petit-Frere is likely a second- or third-round pick. He wants to be a foundational piece for an NFL team. He said his goal di lui for the combine was to impress on teams his passion and relentlessness on the field and his leadership di lui off of it.
Petit-Frere didn’t win a national title with the Buckeyes. He is determined to win a Super Bowl in the NFL.
“There’s no other accolades that I really care about,” Petit-Frere said. “The only thing I care about is getting a ring on my finger and being able to have that legacy be written into the lore of NFL history that I was a part of a Super Bowl championship team.”
Bill Rabinowitz covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @brdispatch.